Florida Senate - 2019 SB 526 By Senator Gruters 23-00493-19 2019526__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the entertainment industry; 3 creating the Film, Television, and Digital Media 4 Targeted Grant Program within the Department of 5 Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the 6 Commissioner of Film and Entertainment; providing 7 purposes for the program; defining terms; requiring 8 that film, television, and digital media projects 9 being produced in this state meet specified criteria 10 for grant eligibility; authorizing applicants to 11 receive grants up to a specified amount, including 12 bonuses; requiring an applicant that receives funding 13 to make a good faith effort to use existing providers 14 of infrastructure or equipment in this state; 15 establishing application windows for the grant; 16 providing requirements for the department relating to 17 earmarking and setting aside grant funds; providing 18 procedures and requirements for applicants applying 19 for the grant; requiring the commissioner to take 20 specified action within a specified timeframe; 21 specifying that an applicant is only authorized to 22 submit one application per fiscal year unless the 23 applicant is producing certain television programs; 24 creating the Grant Advisory Board within the Office of 25 Film and Entertainment of the department; providing 26 membership requirements for the board; providing 27 meeting requirements for the board; requiring the 28 board to determine a score for each applicant’s 29 project using specified criteria; requiring the board 30 to make a recommendation for certification or 31 rejection of applications within a specified 32 timeframe; requiring the commissioner to determine the 33 priority order and scoring system of the specified 34 criteria with assistance from the board; requiring the 35 board to use certain criteria; requiring the 36 commissioner to take certain actions relating to the 37 certification or denial of applications within a 38 specified timeframe; requiring the department to 39 earmark and set aside funding necessary to fund the 40 total maximum that may be awarded to the qualified 41 projects; requiring the commissioner to develop a 42 verification process to verify the actual qualified 43 expenditures of a qualified project after the 44 project’s work in this state is complete; providing 45 requirements for the verification process; requiring 46 that the grant be issued within a specified timeframe 47 upon approval of the final grant amount by the 48 department; requiring the department to deduct a 49 specified percentage of the grant and to credit the 50 amount to the department to offset certain expenses; 51 requiring that certain marketing be included with a 52 project; requiring qualified projects to allow certain 53 persons to visit the production site upon request of 54 the commissioner and after providing the commissioner 55 with certain notice; specifying that a visit to the 56 production site is not required; requiring the 57 department to disqualify a project under certain 58 circumstances; providing for liability and imposing 59 civil penalties for an applicant that submits 60 fraudulent information; providing for rulemaking; 61 requiring the commissioner to provide an annual report 62 to the Governor and the Legislature on a specified 63 date; providing for the expiration of the program; 64 providing an effective date. 65 66 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 67 68 Section 1. Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted 69 Grant Program.— 70 (1) CREATION AND PURPOSES OF PROGRAM.—The Film, Television, 71 and Digital Media Targeted Grant Program is created within the 72 Department of Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the 73 Commissioner of Film and Entertainment. The purposes of the 74 program are to boost this state’s economic prosperity; expand 75 the impact of the film, television, and digital media industries 76 on the economy of this state; and encourage more family-friendly 77 productions in this state. 78 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this act, unless the context 79 otherwise requires, the term: 80 (a) “Board” means the Grant Advisory Board. 81 (b) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Film and 82 Entertainment as described in s. 288.1251(1)(b), Florida 83 Statutes. 84 (c) “Department” means the Department of Economic 85 Opportunity. 86 (d) “Digital media project” means a commercial video game 87 that includes at least 30 minutes of game play time. The term 88 does not include a project that may be considered obscene, as 89 defined in s. 847.001, Florida Statutes. 90 (e) “Family friendly” means having cross-generational 91 appeal; being appropriate in theme, content, and language for a 92 broad family audience; embodying a responsible resolution of 93 issues; and not containing any act of smoking, illicit drug use, 94 sex, nudity, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language. 95 (f) “Film project” means a theatrical, direct-to-video, 96 television, or animated narrative motion picture at least 75 97 minutes in length. The term does not include a project deemed by 98 the office to have content that is obscene, as defined in s. 99 847.001, Florida Statutes. 100 (g) “Florida resident” means a person who has a valid 101 Florida driver license or Florida identification card issued 102 under s. 322.051, Florida Statutes, and has signed an affidavit 103 confirming residency. 104 (h) “Office” means the Office of Film and Entertainment 105 within the department. 106 (i) “Principal photography” means, for a film project or 107 television project, the filming of major or significant 108 components of the project which involve lead actors, or, for a 109 digital media project, the period of time during which the work 110 of the majority of the crew is dedicated solely to the project. 111 (j) “Production expenditures” means the costs of tangible 112 and intangible property used and services performed primarily 113 and customarily during the preproduction, production, and 114 postproduction of a project. 115 1. The term includes, but is not limited to: 116 a. Wages, salaries, or other compensation, including 117 amounts paid through payroll service companies, for technical 118 and production crews, directors, producers, and performers. 119 b. Rental expenditures for sound stages, backlots, 120 production, editing, digital effects, sound recording, sets, and 121 set construction. 122 c. Rental expenditures for equipment, including, but not 123 limited to, cameras and grip or lighting equipment. 124 d. Expenditures for production meals, craft services, 125 rental cars, and hotels or other rental accommodations. 126 2. The term does not include any costs associated with 127 airfare, development, marketing, or distribution. 128 (k) “Production start date” means: 129 1. For film and television projects, the start date of 130 principal photography, as listed in the project’s application. 131 2. For digital media projects, the start date of 132 storyboards or a later date as specified in the project’s 133 application. 134 (l)1. “Qualified expenditures” means production 135 expenditures incurred for the following: 136 a. Rented or leased goods or services provided by a vendor 137 or supplier in this state which is registered with the 138 Department of State or the Department of Revenue; which has a 139 physical address, not including a post office box; and which 140 employs one or more Florida residents on a full-time basis. The 141 term does not include rebilled goods or services provided by an 142 in-state company from out-of-state vendors or suppliers. When 143 services provided by the vendor or supplier include personal 144 services or labor, only personal services or labor provided by 145 Florida residents qualifies. 146 b. Payments to Florida residents in the form of salary or 147 wages up to a maximum of $200,000 per resident. For purposes of 148 this sub-subparagraph, payments do not include wages for 149 executives, legal staff, workers, or other paid employees who 150 are employed by the project or its parent or affiliate 151 corporation. 152 2. “Qualified expenditures” includes expenditures for 153 renting cars, trucks, and trailers if such car, truck, or 154 trailer is registered with the Department of Highway Safety and 155 Motor Vehicles. 156 3. “Qualified expenditures” does not include expenditures 157 not expressly identified in subparagraphs 1. or 2., expenditures 158 made before qualification for the program, or expenditures 159 related to Internet transactions. 160 161 For the purposes of a television project or a film project, the 162 term includes only those qualified expenditures made within 2 163 fiscal years after the project’s first qualified expenditure. 164 For the purposes of a digital media project, the term includes 165 only those qualified expenditures made within 9 months after the 166 project’s first qualified expenditure. 167 (m) “Qualified project” means a film project, television 168 project, or digital media project for which a complete 169 application for the program has been submitted to and certified 170 by the commissioner. The term does not include a weather or 171 market program; a sporting event or a sporting event broadcast; 172 a gala; an awards show; a production that solicits funds; a home 173 shopping program; a political program; a documentary; a 174 gambling-related project or production; a concert production; a 175 news or current events show; a sports or sports recap show; a 176 pornographic production; or any production deemed obscene under 177 chapter 847, Florida Statutes. 178 (n) “Television project” means a television pilot program 179 or series that: 180 1. Is a scripted drama, comedy, or animation; 181 2. Has a runtime of at least 30 minutes but not more than 182 60 minutes; and 183 3. Has a minimum of seven episodes. 184 185 The term does not include a project deemed by the office to have 186 content that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida 187 Statutes. 188 (o) “Underutilized area” means any county in this state 189 other than Broward County, Dade County, Orange County, or 190 Seminole County. 191 (3) GRANT ELIGIBILITY.— 192 (a) To be eligible for a grant, an applicant must be 193 producing a project that: 194 1. Has projected qualified expenditures of: 195 a. For a film project, at least $1.5 million; 196 b. For a television series, at least $500,000 per episode; 197 c. For a television pilot, at least $1 million; or 198 d. For a digital media project, at least $1.5 million; 199 2. Is projected to employ a crew, including cast and stand 200 ins, but not including extras, of which at least 60 percent will 201 be Florida residents; 202 3. Is projected to spend at least 60 percent of its total 203 budget in this state; and 204 4. Will not use the state sales tax exemption. 205 (b) A project may receive a grant in the amount of up to 12 206 percent of its verified qualified expenditures. A bonus may be 207 earned in the amount of an additional 3 percentage points, if 75 208 percent of the project’s production will take place in an 209 underutilized county or if its content is deemed family 210 friendly. A project may not receive more than one bonus, and the 211 total that may be awarded under any grant may not exceed 15 212 percent of its verified qualified expenditures or $2 million, 213 whichever is less. 214 (c) Each applicant that receives funding must make a good 215 faith effort to use existing providers of infrastructure or 216 equipment in this state, when available, including providers of 217 camera gear, grip and lighting equipment, vehicles, and 218 postproduction services. 219 (4) APPLICATION WINDOWS.—Applications must be accepted in 220 each fiscal year in which funding is available for the program 221 during two application windows. The first application window is 222 the first 5 business days of each July, and the second 223 application window is the first 5 business days of each January. 224 (a) The department may not earmark or set aside more than 225 60 percent of any appropriated or rolled-over grant funds for 226 any given fiscal year for applications submitted during the 227 first application window. Grant funds not earmarked and set 228 aside for the first application window roll over for use in the 229 second application window. 230 (b) If all grant funds are earmarked and set aside for 231 qualified projects, additional applications may not be accepted 232 until more funds become available to the program. 233 (5) APPLICATION PROCESS.— 234 (a) A company that plans to produce a film, television, or 235 digital project in this state may submit an application to the 236 commissioner during one of the two application windows. A 237 project must have a production start date that is within 6 238 months after the first day of the application window in which 239 the company submits the application. 240 (b) The application must include: 241 1. Project-related employment information, including 242 employment numbers for Florida residents; 243 2. A detailed budget of planned qualified expenditures; 244 3. A detailed distribution plan to assist with determining 245 the potential economic impact of the project in this state; 246 4. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures 247 for wages paid to Florida residents; 248 5. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures in 249 this state other than wages; 250 6. For a film project or television project, a final 251 script, a production schedule, a Day out of Days report, and a 252 list of the expected shooting locations; 253 7. For a television project, scripts for two episodes; 254 8. For a digital media project, a detailed game design 255 document; and 256 9. An affirmation signed by the applicant that the 257 information on the application is correct. 258 (c) Within 15 business days after the last business day of 259 each application window, the commissioner shall: 260 1. Review all applications submitted during the application 261 window and determine the eligibility of each applicant; 262 2. Determine each applicant’s expected qualified 263 expenditures; 264 3. Determine the maximum grant amount that each applicant 265 may be eligible for; 266 4. Determine whether the applicant’s project is deemed 267 family friendly; 268 5. Determine whether each applicant or the parent company 269 of the applicant is a corporation registered in this state; 270 6. Contact each applicant with any questions, as necessary; 271 7. Gather any additional information needed to address the 272 criteria specified under subsection (7); and 273 8. Assemble a package containing the details of each 274 applicant’s project and deliver it to each board member. 275 (d) An applicant may submit only one application per fiscal 276 year. However, an applicant producing a television series may 277 apply for subsequent seasons of that television series within 278 the same fiscal year. 279 (6) GRANT ADVISORY BOARD; CREATION; PURPOSE; MEMBERSHIP.— 280 (a) The Grant Advisory Board is created within the office. 281 The board shall comply with the requirements of s. 20.052, 282 Florida Statutes, except as otherwise provided in this section. 283 (b) The board shall consist of seven members appointed by 284 the commissioner. Of these seven members: 285 1. Three shall be members of the Florida Film and 286 Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the 287 Governor; 288 2. Two shall be members of the Florida Film and 289 Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the 290 President of the Senate; and 291 3. Two shall be members of the Florida Film and 292 Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the Speaker 293 of the House of Representatives. 294 (c) The board shall meet within 15 business days after the 295 commissioner provides application material to all of the members 296 of the board as provided in subparagraph (5)(c)8. Subsequent 297 meetings may be held within 10 business days after the initial 298 meeting for that application window. The board may meet in 299 person or by conference call. 300 (d)1. The board shall determine a score for each 301 applicant’s project using the criteria specified under 302 subsection (7), with the highest scores going to projects 303 determined to provide the best economic impact and return on 304 investment to the state. 305 2. The board shall make a recommendation for certification 306 or rejection of each application to the commissioner within 10 307 days after the board’s first meeting for that application 308 window. 309 (7) CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING PROJECT SCORES.— 310 (a) The priority order and scoring system of the criteria 311 specified in paragraph (b) must be determined by the 312 commissioner, with assistance from the board in advance of the 313 first application window. 314 (b) The board shall use at least the following criteria in 315 determining a project’s score: 316 1. The amount of the project’s overall qualified 317 expenditures. 318 2. The amount of the project’s Florida-resident wages. 319 3. The number of full-time-equivalent jobs created by the 320 project. 321 4. Whether the project provides pension, health, and 322 welfare benefits to its workforce in this state. 323 5. The estimated direct and indirect tourism benefit of the 324 project, based on submitted distribution plans. 325 6. The duration of Florida-resident employment for the 326 project. 327 7. What percentage of the project, if any, is being made in 328 an underutilized county. 329 8. Whether the applicant is a corporation registered in 330 this state. 331 9. Whether the project is family friendly. 332 10. Whether the project has a Florida-resident writer, 333 producer, or star. 334 11. Whether a Florida film, television, or digital media 335 school will assist with the production of the project. 336 12. Whether the project leadership team has a successful 337 track record. 338 13. The number of Florida-resident veterans hired by the 339 project. 340 14. The number of Florida film school graduates the project 341 has hired as cast or crew. 342 (8) NOTIFICATION OF DECISION.— 343 (a) Within 5 business days after the board makes its 344 recommendations to the commissioner, the commissioner shall: 345 1. Provide a list of qualified projects to the department 346 which includes the associated maximum grant amounts that the 347 respective applicants may receive. 348 2. Notify each applicant of the specified percentage of 349 qualified expenditures for which the applicant is eligible and 350 the maximum grant amount that the applicant may receive. 351 3. Provide a notice of rejection to each rejected 352 applicant; however, the failure to notify an applicant of its 353 rejection does not deem the applicant’s project a qualified 354 project. 355 (b) The commissioner shall make the final determination, 356 giving consideration to the board’s recommendations, as to 357 whether an applicant is certified for a grant. 358 (c) Based on the final determination of the commissioner, 359 the department shall earmark and set aside the amount necessary 360 to fund the total maximum that may be awarded for the qualified 361 projects. 362 (9)(a) VERIFICATION PROCESS.—The commissioner shall develop 363 a process to verify the actual qualified expenditures of a 364 qualified project after the project’s work in this state is 365 complete. The process must require all of the following: 366 1. Submission to the commissioner, electronically or as a 367 hard copy, by each qualified project within 90 days after making 368 its final qualified expenditure, but not later than 1 year after 369 its production start date of: 370 a. Data substantiating each qualified expenditure, which 371 has been audited by an independent certified public accountant 372 licensed in this state, as required by subparagraph 3.; 373 b. Copies of documents verifying residency of persons 374 represented as being Florida residents; 375 c. The final script; 376 d. The most recent production board and shooting schedule; 377 and 378 e. The most recent credit list showing where the credits 379 required under subsection (10) will appear. 380 2. Signing, and submission to the commissioner, by the 381 qualified project of an affidavit or written declaration signed 382 under the penalty of perjury as specified in s. 92.525, Florida 383 Statutes, stating that all salaries, wages, and other 384 compensation submitted as qualified expenditures are in 385 compliance with this section. 386 3. The conduct of a compliance audit, at the qualified 387 project’s expense, by an independent certified public accountant 388 to substantiate each qualified expenditure and submission of a 389 report of the findings of the audit, including substantiating 390 data, to the commissioner within 45 days after the initial 391 receipt of records from the qualified project. 392 (b) The commissioner shall review the report and data 393 submitted by the certified public accountant within 45 days 394 after receipt of the report and data and report to the 395 department the final verified amount of actual qualified 396 expenditures made by the qualified project and the amount of the 397 grant due to the qualified project. 398 (c) Upon approval by the department of the final grant 399 amount, which may not exceed the maximum specified in the notice 400 provided under subparagraph (8)(a)2., the grant must be issued 401 within 30 days. 402 (d) The department shall deduct one-half of 1 percent of 403 the total grant amount before issuing the grant to the qualified 404 project, and such amount must be credited to the department to 405 offset the cost of the compliance review. 406 (10) MARKETING AND TOURISM REQUIREMENT.— 407 (a) The commissioner shall ensure, as a condition of 408 receiving a grant under this section, that a qualifying project 409 include marketing promoting this state as a tourist destination 410 or film and entertainment production destination. At a minimum, 411 the marketing must include placement in the end credits of a 412 “Filmed in Florida” or “Produced in Florida” logo with size and 413 placement commensurate to other logos included in the end 414 credits or, if no logos are used, the statement “Filmed in 415 Florida” or “Produced in Florida” or a similar statement 416 approved by the commissioner and the logo of the local film 417 office, if applicable. A digital media project must also supply 418 a 5-second or longer animated logo with “Produced in Florida” or 419 other text, including the logo of the local digital media 420 office, if applicable, as preapproved by the commissioner, in a 421 manner easily seen by a consumer of the digital media project. 422 The commissioner shall provide the logos for the purposes 423 specified in this paragraph, not including the logo for a local 424 digital media office, which must be provided by the applicable 425 office. 426 (b) A qualified project must allow the commissioner, or an 427 affiliate, and up to five guests to visit the production site 428 upon the request of the commissioner. Upon such request, the 429 qualified project must give the commissioner at least 10 430 business days’ notice of a visit date and time that is 431 acceptable to the production. The commissioner or an affiliate 432 is not required to make a visit to the set. 433 (c) A qualified project must provide at least five 434 preapproved photos of the production to the commissioner and 435 grant the commissioner use of such photos in promoting this 436 state as a film, television, or digital media production 437 location or tourist destination. 438 (11) DISQUALIFICATION.—The department shall disqualify a 439 project if the project: 440 (a) Does not begin principal photography in this state 441 within 6 weeks of the project’s production start date; 442 (b) Does not abide by the policies, procedures, deadlines, 443 or requirements of the verification process; 444 (c) Does not start production within 6 weeks before or 445 after the production start date; 446 (d) Does not notify the commissioner of any change in the 447 production start date before commencing production; or 448 (e) Submits fraudulent information. 449 (12) FRAUD.—An applicant that submits fraudulent 450 information under this section is liable for reimbursement of 451 the reasonable costs and fees associated with the review, 452 processing, investigation, and prosecution of the fraudulent 453 submission. An applicant that obtains a grant under this section 454 through a claim that is fraudulent shall reimburse the program 455 for the grant awarded and reasonable costs and fees associated 456 with the review, processing, investigation, and prosecution of 457 the fraudulent claim and shall pay a civil penalty in an amount 458 equal to double the grant amount and any criminal penalty to 459 which the applicant may be subject. 460 (13) RULES; POLICIES; PROCEDURES.—The commissioner may 461 adopt rules and shall develop policies and procedures to 462 administer this section, including, but not limited to, rules 463 specifying requirements for the application and approval process 464 and the determination of qualified expenditures. 465 (14) ANNUAL REPORT.—Each November 1, the commissioner shall 466 provide an annual report on the program for the previous fiscal 467 year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the 468 Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must 469 identify the return on investment associated with, and economic 470 benefits to the state attributable to, the program. 471 (15) EXPIRATION.—The Film, Television, and Digital Media 472 Targeted Grant Program expires June 30, 2020, at which point all 473 remaining appropriated funds not earmarked and set aside for 474 qualified projects must revert to the General Revenue Fund. All 475 remaining appropriated funds must revert to the General Revenue 476 Fund no later than October 31, 2022. 477 Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.